For most of us, if we go to the University with a concern, and they assure us over the phone that everything will be fine, we take them for their word. Given the campus-wide emphasis on student welfare, we expect the University to listen to us, be honest with us, and, overall, act responsibly. Perhaps we are being slightly naïve.
However, this has not been the case for student nurses who were, originally, told over the phone by University staff that they could be released from their 51-week accommodation contract at any time. The University recently backtracked, stating that the nurses couldn’t be released as it was not in their written contract.
Whilst in this day and age we should probably be aware that a verbal agreement is not enough (particularly if it involves the University losing money), for many students this will be their first time signing any type of contract.
Therefore, the University should have been more mindful when advising on issues that involve an exchange of money, and crucially, they must take responsibility if they’ve given students the wrong information.
the University has handled the issue thoughtlessly
The University’s careless mistake could not have been aimed at a worse audience. Student nurses, particularly at York, are often from non-traditional backgrounds and therefore cannot afford to pay double rent. Left unable to pay for accommodation, some have even been forced to contemplate dropping out of their course.
The University has handled the issue thoughtlessly, branding some of their most vulnerable students as liars, despite over 50 reporting that they were verbally informed they could end their accommodation contract at any time.
After such poor treatment, how could any student feel that their best interests are being put before profit? If they wish to keep attracting students from non-traditional backgrounds, they must restore trust.
Losing up to £1,500 in rent is a serious issue. It is vital that the University realises that for some students, just the risk of this mistake is too much of a gamble for the sake of obtaining a degree.